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Lecture 26

HISTART 101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 26: Domenico Ghirlandaio, Michael Baxandall, Massacre Of The Innocents


Department
History of Art
Course Code
HISTART 101
Professor
Celeste Brusati
Lecture
26

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The Case of Michelangelo
-“The Status of the Artists”
OUTLINE
1. Baxandall: “Painting is a Deposit of a Social Relationship”
2. The Renaissance “artist” in this social relationship: Ghirlandaio
3. The Case of Michelangelo
a. Training
b. Early works in Rome: Bacchus and Pieta’
c. Factors that contributed to Michelangelo’s “extraordinarystatus as an artist
BAXANDALL: “PAINTING IS A DEPOSIT OF A SOCIAL RELATIONSHIP”
-“A fifteenth-century painting is the deposit of a social relationship.” (p.1)
-Michael Baxandall - “The Conditions of Trade” from Painting and Experience (1972)
-Baxandall helps us get at some of the issues related to the “status” of the Italian
Renaissance makers of visual “art”
-How are social relationships evident in a painting?
-Adoration of the Magi - 1488
-Altarpiece for the Hospital of the Innocents, Florence, Italy
-Baxandall, pp 5-8
-The painting was for the church in an institution for abandoned children in
Florence, Italy
-Subject Matter: Adoration of the Magi (Three Kings)
-Virgin and the Christ Child (center), Joseph, Three Magi, and
angels singing above
-The piece was planned and created by the artists, but the patron had a large
influence in the painting because the artists had to gain permission of their
designs before actually painting
-Contractual necessities
-Importance of the role of the “patron” or “client in the Italian Renaissance
-“In the fifteenth century painting was still too important to be left to the painters”
(Baxandall, p. 3)
-Patron: Rector of the Foundling Hospital, Francesco di Giovanni Tesori
is depicted in the artwork as well
-Importance of the role of the institution where the painting was displayed
-Institution: “Hospital of the Innocents”
-Hospital dedicated to the “Holy Innocents”
-Overseen by the “silk guild”
-Massacre of the Innocents, Holy Innocent, Holy Innocent
-All important aspects must be incorporated into the
artwork
-“Holy innocents” are the abandoned children
-Institution: Massacre of the Innocents is in the far left background
THE RENAISSANCE “ARTIST” IN THIS SOCIAL RELATIONSHIP: GHIRLANDAIO
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-Painting as a deposit of social relationships
-Artist: Domenico Ghirlandaio
-The status of the artist in the Italian Renaissance
-Ghirlandaio’s practice
-He has included a self-portrait of himself within the artwork right behind his patron
-Ghirlandaio = a product of the Guild System
-Activities of the Guild of stone carvers, carpenters, and masons
Guild System
-Came into being in the 12th century in Europe
-Corporation organized around production (materials, products)
-Protects manufacturers from outside competition
-Protects consumers from fraud and poor-quality products
-Training = apprenticeship (at least 3 years)
-Privileges the children of master and family businesses
-High value places on quality of materials and skillful execution
-Specialization within a type of production (painting, wood carving)
Domenico Ghirlandaio
-Father was an artisan
-Large, very successful shop, specializing in panel and fresco painting; portraiture, antique-style
ornament, landscape details, good quality materials
-Reputation: “A good master on panel and even more so on walls. His things have a good air, and
he is an expeditious man and one who gets through much work” (Milanese ambassador in
Florence reporting back to Duke of Milan, quoted in Baxandall, p. 26
Contract
-Quoted in Baxandall, p. 6
-Negotiation between the artist and patron
-Follow a drawing
-Paint “in his own hand”
-Use “good colors”
-Use powdered blue - blue was the most expensive color at the time
-Good quality blue
-Have the painting evaluated by an independent arbiter
-Demonstrating skills:
-Landscape
-Perspective
-Each part of the work had a specific purpose, so this portion shows the artist’s
skill beyond including the patrons, institution, and meeting the different
contractual obligations
Study Slide: Domenico Ghirlandaio, Adoration of the Magi
-Subject Matter
-Madonna and Christ Child, St. Joseph, in manger, with three kings from different parts of
the world come to pay homage to the superior authority of Christ as the “son of God”
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